Minimalist c. 1964 James Galanos Superb Detailed Square Neckline Long Sheath Dress
In 1951 a 27 year old James Galanos launched his first label called Galanos Originals. By 1954 he had won a Coty award and the Neiman Marcus award. By 1958 he was producing clothing that could range in price from $200 to $3000, an astronomical price for ready-to-wear for that time period. His ready-to-wear line was made close to couture standards and with a level of craftsmanship that was on par with the French couturiers. Galanos was a master cutter and draper and he used many couture techniques in his work. Grace Kelly was an early fan. He was truly one of the great American designers and his work is held in all of the major museums around the world. He is one of my personal favourites. This dress is absolutely gorgeous. It is an interesting one because it seems to have been an exclusive for the Amelia Gray shop in Beverly Hills. It is an absolute beauty. We found some runway photos similar to the front cut from 1964 and that and the label inside would date it to that time period.
This is a dress that is extremely well made with a very high level of construction techniques. That alone makes it a fabulous piece for me. It is a joy to see dresses made to this fine level of workmanship. The dress is made from a light in weight wool that has a beautiful tactile texture running over it. It has just enough weight to hold the intended shape but feels wonderful once on. Everything about the cut is done to highlight and showcase those wonderful sculptural lines. The interior is constructed out of a fine black silk and the combination of the two fabrics makes the dress feel amazing once on. The neckline is extraordinary and I love the way it falls into that distinctive squared off shape. This has created by extending the straps as they curve over the shoulders down to just under the bust and then adding an inset piece between. The same technique is done at the back but without the added inset piece between the straps she get a little more skin to show there. From there It skims over the bust and past the waist. It then curves out over over the hips where it starts to widen out to the hem. From there it falls to the floor on graceful A-line. All of this is created by clever seaming and it is so much better in person its ridiculous. He is a designer who cut for the body not the hanger or a form. His work truly comes to life once on. . The workmanship is exquisite and to demi-couture standards. Excellent condition.
Lined in a fine black silk through the front bodice and the rest is unlined. It closes with a side zipper. Hand finishes throughout. It appears to have been worn very little if at all. Silk ribbon finished seams. The fabric has slight stretch. It is a stunning
Bust: 16-17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Seam under the bust: 14.5-15" across
Natural waist: 15-16" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: 19-20.5 flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 9.5" from top of shoulder to seam under the bust
Skirt: 45" from seam under the bust to hem with 2" turned under
Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-SML
Reference Photos: Spring 1964 James Galanos Couture Runway.
This garment has been professionally cleaned, pressed and is odor free. Thoroughly checked over before shipping, it will be ready to wear upon arrival.
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